Saturday, 10 December 2016

FB Discussions - Modern Science checks Vedic Rituals

While I would never look for 'scientific evidence' for religion, I am simply reposting this because we need to understand that there are areas we do not understand today. To dismiss without understanding is to be very very superstitious.
I say this after spending many years in a vilage. In the first years i used to dismiss many of their practices which did not come in the ambit of my 'modern scienctific understanding'. Slowly I learnt that my 'modern science' is just one system and not the final system to understand the universe with.

A 4,000 year old fire ritual conducted in a remote village in Kerala in April,2011 has a positive impact on the atmosphere, soil and other environment effects, according to scientists who are now ready with their findings.
The “Athirathram” ritual held on April 4- 15, 2011 at Panjal village in Thrissur district was the focus of a detailed study by a team of scientists led by Prof V P N Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The scientists had focused on the fire ritual's scientific dimensions and impact on the atmosphere, soil and its micro-organisms and other potential environmental effects.

The yagna seems to have accelerated the process of seed germination and also the microbial presence in air, water and soil in and around the region of the fire ritual is vastly diminished, according to a statement released by the Varthathe Trust, who organised the ritual.

The team had planted three types of seeds – cowpea, green gram and Bengal gram – on four sides of the ritual venue at varying distances. They found that the growth was better in case of pots kept closer to the fire altar.

This effect, the study says, was more pronounced in the case of Bengal gram with growth about 2,000 times faster than in other places.

According to Nampoori, sound is a vibration and continuous positive vibrations through chanting, accelerates the process of germination.

“The findings would not only help dispel superstitious notions associated with Vedic rituals but also help in continuation of such tradition for the betterment of nature and the environment,” says Nampoori.

He added that further research on the phenomenon were on which could prove that some bio-amplifier generated in the atmosphere because of the ritual, had a selective effect on Bengal gram.

The study focused on counting bacterial colonies at three locations – within the yagnashala, 500 metres and 1.5 kilometres from the yagnasala. Microbial analysis made before, during and four days after the yagna revealed the air in the vicinity of the yagnashala was pure and had very low count of microbe colonies.

The research team also found that microbial activities in the soil and water around the yagnashala were remarkably less compared to normal ground.

The “Athirathram” ritual which literally means “building up of the fireplace and performed overnight” and usually held to propagate universal peace and harmony, was first documented 35 years ago by US-based Indologist Frits Staal.

Staal, currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley had in 1975 organised and recorded the ritual in detail with the help of grants and donations from the Universities of Havard, Berkely and Finland's Helsinki University.

The research team conducted tests near the fire altars of the 1918 and 1956 Athirathram, still preserved in the backyards of Namboothiri homes, reveal that the bricks continue to be free of microbial presence.

“It's an indication that the effect of the ritual is long-lasting. Studies are on to find out if other positive changes on the atmosphere are transitional or permanent,” say researchers.

An analysis conducted on the dimensions of temperature from the flames of the pravargya by Prof A K Saxena, head of photonics division, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, found that the fire ball formed during the ritual had a particular wavelength with an unusually high intensity similar to what is observed in typical laser beams at about 3,870 degree centigrade.

It may be possible to have stimulated emission at this wavelength (700 nm) and gain from plasma recombination. It needs to be studied further, he says.

The members of the team of scientists' team at the Panjal Athirathram 2011 included experts from various disciplines and included Dr Rajalakshmy Subrahmanian (Cusat), Dr Parvathi Menon (M G College, Thiruvanathapuram), Dr Maya R Nair (Pattambi Government College), Prof Saxena ( Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) and Prof. Rao (Andhra University).

The scientific team members were supported by Zarina (Research Scholar, CUSAT), Ramkumar (Biotechnologist), Asulabha (Biotechnologist) and a number of postgraduate, graduate and school students.

Aparna Krishnan And my village is a dalit village - and I am not talking of brahmin practices or dalit practices. But of traditional esoteric practices, and of testing them against a limited reductionist modern science, and of superciliously rejecting or passing based on their performance in the 'scientific framework'.
Anjali Kapoor Vedas recommended Agnihotra-havan for all mankind. Vedas if understood rightly do not advocacte caste system.The present caste system is based on distortion of facts and not on Vedic teaching.
In Vedas the caste were based on occupation and not by birth.For egs if a brahmins son was not educated and was worked as a merchant he would be termed as a Vaishya.
Vedas teach us मानवता.How to become a human being.
Anjali Kapoor Agnihotra-havan or yagya is scientific based.How carbon is converted to Oxygen and helps in reducing global warming.
Aparna Krishnan But why should we feel that science is the superior system - and explain our practices in terms of science ?
Aparna Krishnan It is like some ayurvedic doctors trying to explain ayurveda is terms of allopathy and protiens and vitamins and viruses. There is no need. If modernity wants to - let them come and test for themselves. No ?
Anjali Kapoor Today's young minds need scientific evidence.I feel there is no harm in explaining to them in the language they understand.
When my grownup son was questioning me about benefits of havan...calling it a ritual....had to reassure took him to a chemistry professor who had been a been HOD in a university and written a book on Agnihotra-havan.The professor with scientific equations proved the point and it made its mark.
Aparna Krishnan I agree we need to answer in the dominant paradigm. But sometimes it does not work, because to explain one is terms of the other distorts and reduces the first. That is why these days i feels its good to simply state facts, and let the hearer absorb the truth in his own way. But I understand the need that you are mentioning also. It is a balance we need sometimes.
Hariharan Sukumar Aparna Krishnan It is all about perception. We believe more in science because we are able to measure the parameters and we are able to relate to them. It doesn't mean that which we can't measure is not true. Science had always went hand in hand with religion in India till the advent of western education. We were made to believe that our systems were bad by the British. The western system of education is based on the fact that only that which is physical is real. There cometh the problem. We Indians know that we are not body and something more. We are open to meta physical and non physical realm. Unfortunately the present day science deals only with physical objects
Aparna Krishnan Yes, so I am not willing to deify modern science. Which is what we do when we use it as the validating rod.
Aparna Krishnan i think to dismiss anything that has neither been vaidated nor invalidated is extreme blind faith.
Anjali Kapoor You cannot prove everything by scientific knowledge.Three things are eternal. 1.Prakriti-Matter cannot be created neither destroyed. This we believe because it is proven scientifically and taught in schools 2.Atma 3.Parmatama.Although the latter two a...See more
Aparna Krishnan i agree completely Anjali. Indian knowlege is learnt differently, and the methods of modern science are not the only ones. That humility the 'modernists' need to learn.A doctor friend would not accept ayurveda because I could not show him vata, pitta, kapha under the microscope !
Anjali Kapoor Irony of the situation dear in modern times
Aparna Krishnan its a deep disdain for our heritage and ourselves. its quite sad actually.

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